cover image Are You Sara?

Are You Sara?

S.C. Lalli. Morrow, $16.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-322627-2

Romance author Lalli (A Holly Jolly Diwali as Sonya Lalli) ventures into thriller territory with exhilarating results. Ambitious Sarawati “Sara” Bahduri, who’s in her final year of law school in Windermere, Mass., works two jobs to make ends meet. One evening, while she’s tending bar at a student hangout, her boss asks her to deal with a person passed out in the bathroom, 20-year-old Sarah Ellis. Sara and her charge step outside for a breath of air, and each calls for a rideshare home. Exhausted, Sara falls asleep in the car and is awakened by her driver in a posh residential neighborhood. She walks across town to her actual address to find Sarah murdered on her doorstep. Both women are petite and dark haired. Was Sara simply “a good Indian girl who got into the wrong Ride,” or was she the intended victim? Chapters told by Sara teasingly reveal details of her complicated life, while Sarah’s first-person narration is one of innocent assumptions of privilege. The twisty plot upsets conventional expectations while shining a light on casual sexism and racism. Readers will hope to see a lot more in this line from the versatile Lalli. Agent: Martha Webb, CookeMcDermid Literary. (Aug.)